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You’ll soon be able to get married at Chester Zoo surrounded by the animals

Know anyone who’d love to get married here?

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Chester Zoo

If you’ve ever dreamt of getting married while surrounded by animals, then we’ve got some very good news for you this morning.

Chester Zoo is opening a brand new wedding and events venue, and if the images are anything to go off it will be a stunning spot to tie the knot.

The luxury wedding and events venue is set to open next year, and the zoo has released an exclusive set of artist’s impressions to show what it will look like.

Chester Zoo

The wedding spot will be called ‘The Square’ and is currently scheduled to open in spring 2023 – while the main event room will have a capacity of 200, the reception and breakout rooms will bring total capacity to 380.

An extension of an existing Grade II-listed stable block that’s been there since 1931, The Square will feature an impressive gated entrance, private courtyard, vaulted rafters, exposed brickwork, and large windows which overlook the zoo’s botanical gardens.

The stable block once housed some of the zoo’s first animals, including lions, bears, and chimpanzees, and Chester Zoo say they plan to retain the ‘rich history and character’ of the building.

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

Jamie Christon, CEO at Chester Zoo, said of the launch: “Work is underway to bring to life this incredible building that has stood at the heart of the zoo for more than 91 years.

“The Square will be a special, one-of-a-kind space that preserves the zoo’s rich history and character, while also adding a modern twist to its interior that showcases our plans for a more sustainable future.

“While the zoo has, for some time, offered an intimate wedding and events space at The Oakfield gastropub, which can hold around 50 guests, we’re frequently asked if we can accommodate larger scale events.

“That’s why we’re really excited to begin welcoming guests to this incredible new venue from early next year.”

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

He continued: “But what’s particularly special is that income generated by each and every occasion that takes place at The Square will contribute to our charitable mission and help us to secure a brighter future for wildlife on our planet.

“When The Square opens in spring 2023, there will be nothing else quite like it in the UK.”

The Square is planned to open in spring 2023 – you can find out more here.

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Manchester’s legendary Contact Theatre is celebrating its 50th birthday with a series of giveaways

Contact kick started festivities this week with a fifty hour poet lock-in…

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Adrian Lambert & Drew Wilby

Manchester’s historic Contact Theatre is marking its fiftieth birthday this month and, to celebrate, is throwing a whole host of unique and exciting events and giveaways.

The theatre, which recently underwent a massive £6m refurbishment, opened all the way back in 1972 as the Manchester Young People’s Theatre, with it eventually changing its name to Contact Theatre in the 1990s.

The theatre was made a reality by Hugh Hunt, the man responsible for producing and directing some of the UK’s most successful and critically acclaimed shows throughout the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.

After serving in the war, Hunt settled in Manchester and founded the drama department at the university, eventually instigating the University Theatre building which opened in 1965.

Adrian Lambert

Contact Theatre was born nearly a decade later to give students and other young people a chance to ‘change their lives through the arts’, taking on a unique approach of placing the students at the heart of everything, including programming, decision-making and even staff appointments.

It was revolutionary for its time, and still is to this very day, fifty years on. So, to celebrate half a century of Contact Theatre, there’s a whole host of very special events and giveaways… fifty of them, to be precise.

Contact has already kickstarted its eclectic roster of events, activities, competitions and giveaways to mark the special anniversary, with the theatre starting celebrations with its first ever ‘Poet Lock-In’ earlier this week.

This saw poet Georgie Brooke be locked in the building for fifty long hours to write a fifty word poem.

Joel Chester Fildes

Other events on the line up include a 50m walk, which will see the first person seen receive a £50 ticket voucher, and 50% off shows for Contact members.

And throughout November, anyone who calls Contact on the fiftieth minute of the hour gets a 50p ticket to a show and, on National Hot Chocolate Day, there will be a free hot chocolate given to the first fifty people in the building.

Keisha Thompson, Artistic Director and CEO of Contact said: “Contact has been a huge part of my life for almost two decades, but our organisation’s incredible history, and its impact on Manchester, reaches far beyond that.

“I’m so excited to look back at our achievements during our birthday, but even more excited to set the vision for what the next fifty years of Contact could look like.”

For the listings of all of Contact’s 50th birthday celebrations, including exclusive productions, events, workshops and more, head on over to their website.

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Gok Wan is hosting a FREE Pride party here in Manchester

A whole host of parties and events are taking place at Ducie Street Warehouse

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@therealgokwan / Instagram & @duciestreet / Instagram

To celebrate fifty years of Pride, Gok Wan will this month be hosting a FREE party right here in Manchester.

While Gok is known best as a fashion designer and for his work as a television presenter, he is also an accomplished DJ, with him having performed sets at prestigious venues including London’s Royal Albert Hall.

And now, Gok is set to bring his house mixes to Manchester to headline an epic party celebrating Pride’s fiftieth birthday.

His headline slot comes as part of Ducie Street Warehouse’s series of Freedom to Be parties across August, with the first event kicking off this weekend on Saturday August 20th from 5pm until late. 

Gok was asked to headline the event in ode to the inspiration he has become for the LGBTQIA+ community, and will be joined by Manchester’s very own queer collective Queer Latifah.

Continuing into the August Bank Holiday next week, Ducie Street will also be hosting its famous BIG disco brunch for Freedom to Be on Saturday August 27th from 11am until 4pm.

The disco brunch will be soundtracked by by The Niallist bringing in the finest disco playlist,  plus performances from Poppy Lah, Monopoly Phonic, Dakota Schiffer, Sharon Legrand and Banksie.

And, of course, there will be bottomless Glam Daiquiris flowing throughout the event.

Carrying on the party until 9pm that day, DJ collectives Girls On Film and Fat Camp will be in charge of the sound system to keep the groove going.

Sunday Bank Holiday the following day on August 28th will welcome more DJs and performances curated by vogue collective Ghetto Fabulous from 11am until 4pm with another disco brunch back in full swing.

This will be followed by a High Hoops takeover, bringing a variety of disco and psychedelic house to the dance floor until 9pm.

The Freedom to Be parties are completely FREE to attend across the whole weekend – visit the Ducie Street Warehouse website for more information. 

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Heaton Park’s lakeside dining domes unveil evening picnic sessions for the summer

The perfect way to spend those long summer nights

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Manchester's Finest Group

With the summer in full swing, Heaton Park’s luxury lakeside dining domes have unveiled brand new menus ideal for the warmer weather.

The domes have proved to be hugely popular with visitors since their debut last year, and now boast shaded glazing and air conditioning, making them the ideal spot to soak up the rays. 

And this month has seen the launch of the Heaton Park Summer Picnic package, which allows guests to enjoy a summery picnic feast late into the evening.

On the menu, diners can expect Heaton Park’s take on all the picnic classics, including roasted cauliflower Mac & Cheese with a molten camembert, free-range Heaton Scotch Egg and a homemade signature Sage and Onion Sausage Roll.

Manchester’s Finest Group

There is also a selection of delicious salads, from Mediterranean pearl couscous salad, a classic Caesar salad and the Harissa Chickpea and Orange salad.

But the real stars of the show are the sweet offerings, which include indulgent chocolate-filled Churros served with vanilla ice cream, chocolate orange Sauce and cookie crumble, plus a homemade scone with vanilla clotted cream and champagne strawberries.

Each picnic session offers a children’s menu and a vegan menu, and runs later than the park’s usual slots until 7pm.

The Dining Domes’ usual Afternoon Tea package will also be available throughout the day, with a menu carefully curated by Heaton Park’s cafes to offer the perfect balance of quintessential classics – as well as some imaginative variations of afternoon tea favourites.

Manchester’s Finest Group

The traditional signature menu includes a selection of delicious sandwiches, a free-range Heaton Scotch Egg and a homemade signature Sage and Onion Sausage Roll.

Sweet offerings include a homemade chocolate brownie with salted caramel ganache, a freshly baked Victoria Sponge, house scones with homemade jam and vanilla chantilly and a baked meringue with pineapple and passionfruit.

Also this Summer, Heaton Park will be offering a 10% DISCOUNT on their boats using the following promo codes, both of which are valid until September 5th:

  • SWANBOAT22 – Valid on Swan Pedal Boat bookings on Monday-Thursday only.
  • ELECTRICBOAT22 –  Valid on Electric Boat bookings on Monday-Thursday only.

Get your Dining Dome booked here.

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